Back-To-School Sales Tax Holiday Set To Begin

Aug 8, 2018

San Antonio stores will be packed Friday through Sunday as back-to-school shoppers take advantage of the state’s sale tax holiday. But consumers need to be aware of a few quirks about the holiday before they start spending. 


Kevin Lyons, spokesman for the state comptroller, said the spirit of the law passed by state lawmakers to create the first sales tax holiday in 1999 was to offer a tax break to working moms and dads with school-aged children headed back to classes. 

“What legislators had in mind was back-to-school — things you would normally wear on a day-to-day basis; not something you would just wear to the football game or to play football or play baseball, that kind of thing,” he said. 

The state comptroller’s office reports one of the most important things shoppers should remember this weekend is all items over $100 are taxable, so a break on designer labels is unlikely. 

The tax-free holiday also includes online orders. But if you order something for delivery, it's important to pay attention to what the total costs add up too, Lyons said. 

“If you buy something and there is a delivery charge and the delivery charges puts you over $100 dollars, then you owe taxes on the entire purchase,” he said. 

Lyons also said while backpacks are exempt, gym bags and computers are taxable. He added that parents of high school students involved in extracurricular activities should take note of which activities are covered under the holiday. 

For example, while most sports equipment is not covered, chef uniforms for culinary classes are exempt. And while jazz and dance wear are taxable, golf shirts and skirts are not.

But, if you have a boy who wants to wear a bow tie to the first day of first grade, good news, those are exempt too, according to the comptroller’s office.

MORE | A complete list of tax-exempt items

 

Credit Vince Kong / Texas Public Radio

Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org